DEQ: Red Worms Found In Colcord Water Supply

Tuesday, August 27th 2013, 7:48 am
By: Craig Day

One Delaware County town is shutting off its drinking water Tuesday night, hoping a good scrubbing will get rid of creepy crawlies in the town's water tower.

Little red worms are causing big worries about the water in Colcord.

Usually, this time of year is when a water system has issues, usually because of low water supply, or maybe there is an equipment breakdown because of high water usage, but in Colcord, it's because of tiny red worms.

In Colcord, people were stopping by the emergency management office on Highway 116 Tuesday, to pick up jugs of water. The city issued a warning, saying water from Colcord's water system may be unsafe to drink.

"We've had tornadoes come through here and wipe us out and ice storms. We've seemed to have managed," said Frank Gibby, of Emergency Management.

But now it's little red worms causing the worry.

"I head about that and I was like wait, what?" said Colcord resident Quinton Blair.

Colcord's water quality is tested twice a day every day of the year. Employees discovered the tiny red worms in the water supply.

"They are passing through our filters and getting into our distribution lines," said Water Commissioner Cody Gibby.

Not knowing exactly what the worms are, or if they can make you sick, the city told its customers not to drink any of the water until they figured it out.

Colcord schools called off classes for the day, as well.

"We'll get through it. This is a tough little town. We'll get through it," Frank Gibby said.

People, like Quinton Blair, who show proof of where they live, can get donated water from emergency management.

"I mean, better safe than sorry, honestly," Blair said.

Turns out, the state Department of Environmental Quality says, according to the CDC, there aren't any known health effects associated with the worms.

Water Commissioner Cody Gibby said he's told the worms are called blood worms. They're the larvae of gnat-like tiny flies. The best strategy is to flush them out of the system. That's what the town will be doing Tuesday night, which means there will be no water flowing after 9 p.m. They're hoping after flushing the system out and scrubbing down the water tower, the problem should go away.

"Just kind of save on the water usage, so we can use as much water, so we can clean our tanks and our systems and our pumps and our filters," Cody Gibby said.

Anyone with concerns about the worms are encouraged to contact their doctor. Colcord will continue to give out drinking water until the red worms are gone.